A Starbucks Experience
In the beginning of this blog, I promised I would pay tribute to my foodie self as well as my tech-obsessed self (thus the biverbal tilt of the bytes.) Nerdy, I know. I got so carried away with my move and my foray into venture capital and new york city (crazy right?) that I forgot all about the food. How fitting that my first “food” post is about coffee. A true addiction. A true weakness.
A very smart man recently told me that the best way to de-stress and re-energize is by taking walks. I’m not a walker - I’d rather take the subway, or a train or a cab and most of my favorite places are in close proximity (I planned it this way.) Today, I decided to change it up a bit and realized a short walk is surprisingly refreshing. Its like pressing the re-start button on your laptop - it takes a few minutes, but the whole experience is brand new…you’re starting from scratch.
On my first “deliberate” walk of the year, I happened to walk by a Starbucks I hadn’t noticed before (who knew Starbucks shops were hidden these days.) I ventured in and saw a slew of social interactions. Social interactions, of course, vary by time of day. In the morning, they are rushed: makeup is fresh, men’s shirts are neatly tucked in, and everyone is looking at their watch (a little manic, a little worried.) Coffee is a necessity, not a luxury. At night - it completely changes: the lighting is dim, people are closer together, the conversations are slower. The middle part is what we don’t see; the afternoon is the part most of us miss at our desks. So what does afternoon look like on a weekday?
The small Starbucks was teeming with life (literally.) Old friends in their late 50s were catching up in the corner. An entrepreneur had set up a home office on two tables, talking on the phone loudly. It was clear he had spend most of the day there (three empty starbucks food packages lay strewn across his laptop.) A New York Rangers hockey player stood in front of me and ordered a venti mocha (is that good for you Ranger?) A mother and son held hands while watching an episode on an iPhone. Two of the funniest baristas I have ever met took orders while poking fun at each customer (you want one shot of the skinny caramel syrup? Have 3, its skinny!)And the best yet: a group of 7 boys who couldn’t be more than eight years old, ordered decaf frappucinos and discussed “Emily’s birthday party and birthday gift” with the conviction of soldiers heading to war. The adorable factor of the whole situation was incredible and with each quizzical look it grew exponentially cuter. The barista skipped the shortest one because he couldn’t see him under the register. Whoever Emily is, is one lucky girl.
All this was consumed in the span of 5 minutes. And that, in short, is what the Starbucks empire gives us: momentary aggregations of life and love in the pursuit of coffee.